Folks from out of state commonly label the all-important unaffiliated voters as independents – the term is technically incorrect, but the mistake is so frequent that New Jerseyans have grown to live with it.
Unaffiliated voters are the ones who determine elections in New Jersey, although their domination of Garden State politics is becoming less omnipresent than it used to be. A little more than four out of ten New Jersey voters are unaffiliated with any political party, compared to 38.8% Democratic and 21.5% Republican.
The growth among Democrats is outpacing the unaffiliateds, and putting Democrats on track to outnumber unaffiliateds at some point – maybe within the next decade.
New Jersey has 897,301 more Democrats than Republicans: 2,148,565 to 1,251,264. The state gained 382,166 new Democrats since November 2009, when Republican Chris Christie was elected governor. In November 2001, when Republicans last had a governor and majorities in both houses of the Legislature, the number of unaffiliateds was 54.9%. Democrats had a 25.3%-19.5% edge in voter registration; today it’s 38.8% Democratic, 21.5% Republican.
That means the unaffiliated voter population has dropped by 14 points and that Democrats have increased their market share of registered voters by about 13 points.